Now, I know, you’z wonderin how a Hawaii girl like me, gonna tell you somethin ‘bout th South. But after livin there, datin’ a Southerner for 6 cotton pickin’ years, and a-vistin multiple times, I can assure you I know what I’m talkin about. So, let’s begin, shall we?

1. Using K instead of C.

K is for cotton on Thailand’s Zilk toilet paper.

For some reason, folks living in the Land of Dixie, really like to use K when a C would correctly do. I understand, C and K make the same sounds, so why not switch them up every once in a while for variety’s sake! Actually, my inspiration for this post came from seeing the kotton spelling on the Zilk toilet paper. (Honorary mention: Misspelling on signs and misuse of quotes marks >>> Thailand has its excuse, Dixie, what’s yours? :P)

2. If it ain’t deep fried, it ain’t done yet.

The thought of deep frying a hotdog has NEVER occurred to me, but then again, I wasn’t raised in Thailand or the Deep frying South.

Southern cuisine is well known for its hushpuppy and fried catfish diet. And guess what? So is Thailand! It’s interesting to hear how many foreigners tout how healthy the Thai diet is when I walk by so much deep fried street food and woks filled to the brim with oil. (Honorable mention: Mystery meat/questionable meat products in a can.)

Hey, at least it’s vegetarian….anyone up for a burger?

3. Folks be real friendly.


Thailand is the Land of Smiles and the South is famous for its hospitality. And while there are exceptions to the rule, it’s a stereotype for a reason. (Honorable mention: You know that creed: Family, God and Country? Well, it’s not too different here in Thailand. Family is important to both cultures. Buddhism runs ever strong, and Thais are very proud of their country.)

 4. It’s a bit country ’round here.

Back in 2009 it was common to see cows around PYU.

For as much as CM is developing, I think about those moments that remind me that Chiang Mai still has a bit of that small town feel. We hold doors for people. There isn’t as much horn honking, if at all. We’re helpful. We smile. And we put the cows out to pasture, and occasionally they get lost.

Which leads me to number 5: Folks talkin’ funny. You see, Northern folks don’t talk the same way as Bangkok folks or the rest of the country does. CM has its own language with words like lam for delicious and kad for market which throws language learners like me for a tizzy. And well, we know how the folks from the South speak…it’s like we ain’t speakin’ the same language.

6. Sweet tea, same same Thai drinks.

(L) Behold the drink of the South, sweet tea, and (R) a gobblet of Thai iced tea caffeinated goodness.

I don’t miss sweet tea because Thailand has plenty of sweetness in their fruit shakes, iced teas, coffees and, everything else it seems, but their desserts.

7. Jimmy riggin’ stuff.

My uncle’s wheelbarrow…

When the South and CM put their minds to it, they are fairly adept at recycling parts and making shit work. It’s awesome.

8. Big bugs.

This picture was taken in Northern Florida and while it’s not the best, you get the point.

Both the Bible Belt and the Kingdom of Thailand are known for their bugs of unusually large sizes. Southerns love to joke about mosquitoes large enough to carry you away, and if you’ve been to the tourist markets here, there always seems to be a seller of crazy large bugs under glass. I’ve shared my bug pics several times already if you are interested in some of the stranger species I’ve come across.

Alright, what have you noticed? What did I miss? The beauty salon sub-culture? The “where are you going and where have you been?” questions? The way everyone thinks you’re CRAZY for walking, not driving? Inquiring minds want to know…xxoo

16 replies on “8 Ways Chiang Mai is like the American South

  1. I had no idea. I remember being in a car with a property managment person recently and he played his favorite mixed CD. It was twangy country, early 50’s and Rokk and Roll with Neil Diamond, Neil Young and the Beatles.


    1. A lot of people here enjoy American country or bluegrass music – at least I should say, a surprising amount. I remember when I was at JJ Market in Bangkok and a Thai cowboy was playin’ the banjo. He was amazing and it was so funny to see!


  2. actually, when i lived in roi-et, i was shocked that it smelled almost exactly like west virginia (where i grew up) half the time. something about the soil.


    1. Then we have something in common 🙂 I like to see how things are made. I like a creative mind. And I like to understand how things work! Cheers.


  3. Recently, I was looking for a jazz club in CR. I suspected that CM had one and indeed they had one, or two actualy.
    To my surprise there was a Facebook page for a Jazz Club Chiang Rai too.
    Turned out it was a Honda Jazz (car fan) Club 😦


  4. I haven’t been to Chiang Mai in ages, but I recently spent about 2 weeks in Isan and it reminded me very much of Oklahoma for the reasons you mention. I accidentally got one of those sweet teas and it was so cloying I couldn’t drink it, but I gave it to my Thai friend and she gulped it down. And as you know, people in Isan do speak a different language which made it hard.
    Fried food is another great example. Fried bananas, fried chicken, fried everything. I do a pretty good job avoiding the fried food but I know they are adding a lot of sugar to the street food at times. But most of all, the people in both places are very friendly. Great observations.


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